Le Havre, World Heritage Site

The Town Hall by night.

The Town Hall

Finished rebuilding in 1958 on its pre-war site, the Town Hall is one of the emblematic sites of the reconstruction by Auguste Perret. Its 18 storey high tower is 72 metres high and its central horizontal body is 92 metres wide.

It can be seen from the sea and its architectural beauty will come as a surprise, as will its urban surroundings. Situated at the very centre of the city, it is the major focal point in the life of both the locals and the tourists discovering the town.

A very up to date building

Seen as a symbol of Perret’s architecture, the Town Hall, inaugurated on 14th July 1958, is a turntable, always housing events and ceremonies. A bronze statue of François 1er (Francis the First) can still be seen in the entrance hall.

The inside is organized on several levels. The first floor hosts large rooms and a hall of honour used for receptions and weddings. A bronze statue of King Francis the 1st, designed by French sculptor Alphonse Saladin in 1920, adorns the entrance of the Town Hall.

The tower

The regal “square” tower was the subject of many discussions. The Perret Studio presented no less than 20 projects before the city Council made a decision. It is in accord with the architectural programme, and adds rhythm to the urban landscape. It also meets the modern workplace conditions (respect of ergonomics and rationalized flows inside the building). The vertical rise of the belfry is stressed by the exposed posts of the basic structure and the outside staircase hidden behind openwork claustras

The tapestry in the City Council room

The southern wall of the City council room supports the tapestry “Water and Fire” (L’Eau et le Feu, 5,9 x 4,4 metres), designed by Jean Lurçat in 1958, which belongs to his unfinished Chant du Monde (Worldsong) series. On display in Le Havre since 1966, this tapestry explores the themes of the hymn to life through the presence of two natural elements, water and fire, that of the trust in mankind and space conquest through a representation of Spoutnik. Evoking the maritime environment of Le Havre and its history, the picture of the salamander “which goes through fire and does not perish”, is a reminder of the emblem of the founder King of Le Havre, Francis the 1st.


The Town Hall and Gardens.
The Town Hall.
Architectural detail of Town Hall façade.
Tapestry by Jean Lurçat, exhibited and the City Council Boardroom.